Marine traffic slowed in the Suez Canal on Tuesday as oil tanker M/T Rumford appeared to face difficulties in the south of the canal, shipping websites MarineTraffic and TankerTrackers said.

A trade source said that the canal notified companies that the M/T Rumford faced engine trouble in the canal and that it had sent tug boats Tim Hope and Mosaed 3 to its aid. TankersTracker said on twitter that the vessel had run into difficulty but is finally heading north again.

The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) told Reuters the issue had only lasted about 10 minutes and “was fixed”. Meanwhile, the SCA chairman Osama Rabie said it is considering to expand the southern section of the waterway where the container ship Ever Given became stranded.

“If there is a 250-metre part that needs expansion, maybe we will make it 400 metres,” Rabie said.

The SCA chairman further said it is also looking into procuring cranes that could potentially offload cargo at heights of up to 52 meters. “Our procedures are sound, we are just aiming to improve the service,” he added

The 400-metre-long (1,310 ft) Ever Given became grounded diagonally across the southern section of the canal during high winds on March 23. It remained stuck for six days, preventing hundreds of ships from passing and significantly impacting global trade flows.

After it was dislodged, the ship was taken to a lake that separates two sections of the canal where the SCA has been conducting investigations. Rabie said data from the ship’s recorders had been removed and handed over to an investigation committee, and that the ship would travel on once the procedures were completed.

“We are talking about two or three more days, God willing. But we won’t take much time,” he said.

The committee investigating the grounding was made up of five or six members with law, maritime, salvage, and administration expertise, he said, adding that it had caused Egypt great damage.

“We used about 15 tug boats, for six days. We worked 24 hours a day. We used two dredgers. We used assistance launches,” Rabie said. “The canal was closed for six days. That alone caused great harm.” The SCA has said that it will continue to take ships of the Ever Given’s size and is reinforcing its ability to deal with future problems.

“We will try to get two more tug boats, with pulling power of more than 200 tonnes – 250, 280, depending,” Rabie said. The authority was also studying and planning a possible expansion of the southern part of the canal, the area where the Ever Given got stuck.

“If there is a 250-metre part that needs expansion, maybe we will make it 400 metres,” Rabie said.

Source: livemint